Aptly named, New York City hip-hop crew Ratking have that subterranean royalty thing on lock, coming off as a Wu-Tang-ish package of power and empire-demolishing purpose on So It Goes, a murky slab of revolution music that overcomes its accessibility issues with pure excitement.
Speaking of accessibility issues, the first track’s title is a symbol, and the first four cuts play out like a chaotic remix of Yeezus with all sliders on the graphic equalizer pushed up to 11. The epic N.Y.C. commentary of “Snow Beach” is worth the active listening it requires, while “So Sick Stories” (“seems I’m either puffin’ the bliss, or cuffs on wrists”) with special guest King Krule is a bitter triptych that provides open-minded listeners with some rich, alternative eye-level views. Still, when Ratking need to get serious and sharp, they certainly do. Check out the instant “Remove Ya” and the chaos of cop vs. protester clashes comes through the headphones loud and clear, while the loops of soul and the snide, singalong chorus found on the title cut are superior College Dropout stuff, although if any of this trio wed a Kardashian it should be taken as a covert operation of Death Grips proportions.
One minor caution is that the album is so N.Y.C.-oriented that those unfamiliar with subway schedules and urban overcrowding might need a glossary, but removing these hurdles might have muddled with the album’s authenticity. So It Goes is as pure as they come, so strap in and get ready from some rich rewards and hard truths because this one returns hip-hop to a time when it was “dangerous,” and in the best, most progressive way possible.
Judgement & Sentencing by David Jeffries